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Design system predictions for 2022

We ended 2021 with a spicy question for the community: what are your design system predictions for 2022?

Design systems aren’t just for designers—and the more people who use them on your product team, the stronger your design system will be. That’s why our prediction is that 2022 will be all about collaboration: giving more power to your design system by involving more players. UX writers, product managers, developers, and QA engineers: this is your year.

What’s the community saying?

Your design system deserves its own team

Want to scale your design system? You’re going to have to invest. While an entire design system team is our favorite option, it’s also not feasible for most companies. A product manager for your design system probably is, though—and it’s worth it.

From scouting expansion opportunities to increasing adoption rates, employing dedicated design system evangelists will increase your design system’s ROI.

Focus on behaviors, not assets

Design systems are more than libraries. They hold assets, sure, but that isn’t why their ROI is in the six figures. The practices that build and support successful design systems are the same ones that build and support successful teams. The more time and energy we put into building healthy habits for design system support, the better our teams will function.

Want your designers and developers to work together seamlessly? Start with getting them to work with the same source of truth. Boom.

Encourage contribution to increase adoption

Design systems only work when you work. That’s why adoption is so important, right?

The more people adopt your design system, the more people will contribute. But what if the best way to increase adoption is to encourage contribution? We think that 2022 is going to be the year of hands-on building: encouraging more people to get involved earlier, so they’ll be more likely to stay the course with a design system they helped build.

Design system success will be measured

Design systems are living things, so to speak—always growing and adapting to accommodate additions to your design system. Measuring their success shouldn’t be one-dimensional: design systems are worth more than the amount of assets you’ve added.

In 2022, we’re going to be seeing more sophisticated methods of measuring design system success. Data! Surveys! Engagement! It’s not just going to be about how many assets you’ve added, but how impactful the design system is: how much time your team saves, any improvements to user satisfaction. The big stuff. The meaningful stuff.

Design system ops will be a “thing”

We’ve got design ops, we’ve got devops: now let’s get design system ops. One of the many benefits of implementing a design system is the increased consistency within your product (or products). With design systems smoothing out much of the design and development, there’s space to add accessibility, QA, and usability testing into the design-to-design-system funnel. We’ll see more standardization among not just assets, but also processes.

2022: the year of the design system

Design systems help teams build better products and experiences. Whether you choose to hire a team to support your design system, measure in impact vs. assets, or incorporate usability testing feedback, we know you’re still going to be making good use of your design system. Right?

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